Jobs For November

November is a quiet month for the garden, the flowers begin to die back and the weather is unpredictable. But mainly wet. However there are a few jobs we can do to help prepare for the Spring to come.

After spending the year caring for and nurturing the garden, November is a month to collect what you need to bring inside, whether it be the citrus plants that won't survive outside in the harsh cold temperatures here in the UK or the last of the fruits to store over the coming months or herbs to use in the kitchen.

At this time of year bonfires are usually allowed on allotment sites (but always check with your contract) so if you have any left over foliage and need to burn it, now is a good time to do so.

Deadhead cosmos frequently to keep the display going until the first harsh frost.

But if the weather is truly disgusting there is no harm in hiding indoors waiting for it to pass, you could always open the seed catalogs and place an order for next year's display. That way you stay dry but also tick a job from the gardening list.

My top tip for this month if you are lacking in time, or light during the day and really can't get much done in the garden, is to make sure that anything that needs to be secured against high winds is tied down. You will kick yourself if you have to run out into a storm to secure a membrane covering your bed or any furniture covers.

However if there is a window of opportunity to venture out into the garden and get some work done, here are a few suggestions.

The Flower Garden

  • Keep on top of deadheading flowers till the first harsh frost to keep the display going for longer

  • Now is the perfect time to plant out tulip bulbs, so if you haven't already don't worry you can still do this for a beautiful display come spring. That being said, it is worth getting this job done by the end of the month, so the roots can establish well before they lay dormant over winter.

  • Raise pots onto feet to help water flow through and stop them becoming waterlogged in winter.

  • Plant out amaryllis into pots for a beautiful splash of colour in January and February.

  • Take hardwood cuttings from roses and other woody shrubs.

  • If you have any perennials in a border which are tender or even borderline tender bring them inside as they may not survive the frost.

  • Clear ponds of fallen leaves. Not only will this help to keep any fish you may have healthy, the wildlife will also thank you for it.

  • Plant pansies and viola for added colour in the winter.

  • Place a layer of mulch over any bare soil you have to help improve the soil

  • Keep removing weeds

  • If you have a problem with rabbits digging up and eating your bulbs, lay some wire mesh over the ground.

  • Gather leaves as and when you can to help keep the garden tidy and so it doesn't become too large of a job.

  • Use the gathered leaves in a corner somewhere for wildlife to use as a bed over winter.

  • Tidy any deciduous ferns by cutting them back so you will see the new growth in spring.

  • Sow sweet peas for next year, they will flower sooner and be much more plentiful.

  • Remove any debris from lavender plants to keep them open and airy. (Don't prune)

  • Bergenia leaves will start to yellow and turn red at the edges, when you see this cut them away and always cut back to a fleshy stem.

Leave flowers on eucalyptus for wasps and other insects to feed from.

The Veg Patch

  • Divide and mulch rhubarb.

  • Keep turning the compost heap to help aerate and cover to keep heat in if you can.

  • You can start to harvest parsnips once they have been exposed to frost.

  • Cover any brassicas with netting or fleece and make sure it is secure for those harsh winds.

  • If it is not too wet, plant out bare root trees.

  • Place a layer of mulch over any bare soil you have to help improve the soil.

  • It can be easier to put the veg patch or any bed to sleep over winter. Start by weeding the beds thoroughly before they get too wet and then place black membrane or black plastic over the soil. This will stop light from getting through and weaken any weeds that may be left behind. Come spring you can peel back the membrane and start to rework your soil.

  • If you are doing the No Dig method then consider an overwintering green manure for your soil.

  • Plant out garlic.

  • Take down any frames (bamboo) if they are not fixed in place, it will help them to last longer.

  • Plant out rhubarbs sets

  • Sow Broad beans and peas for an early crop.

What to plant out now:

  1. Apples, cherries, pears and plums

  2. Blackberries and hybrid berries

  3. Blackcurrants

  4. Blueberries

  5. Cranberries

  6. Figs

  7. Gooseberries

  8. Raspberries

  9. Grapes

  10. Red Currants and whitecurrents

What to prune

Acers can be pruned now but only if really necessary, it is best to prune them while they are dormant in the winter months. But Acers are not really grown to be pruned, so only if it obstructs a path or really really needs it.

Others that you could prune now are:





Sweet Chestnuts

Rambling roses (only if they need regenerative pruning)

Apple Trees can start to be pruned now however I tend to wait till December.

Pear Trees and other soft fruits if needed.

Enjoy the last of the roses, collect petals before they rot to make potpourii for winter or even gifts in little bags for friends and family.

In the home

Check stored vegetables and fruits such as squashes and potatoes, apples and beetroot for signs of rot. If you find any, discard them immediately, I promise you if you leave it you will regret it.

Inspect any herbs for signs of disease or stem rot, if in doubt cut them back and bring them into use and start again next year, a lot of herbs really don't like our wet climate.

I know I said there isn't a lot to do, but it all depends on each individual garden. For me I still need to cut down the last of the corn in the ground, put the beds to winter and stick on top of weeding. Also compare what you did last year to this year, for example I know that I pruned my apple tree really hard so I won't need to do it this year. I did have to forgo apples but there are new buds already forming for next year's use.

As always friends

Happy Gardening


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